ALLEN COUNTY, Kan. – When a Kansas sheriff’s deputy ordered a drink at a McDonald’s drive-through, his cup was filled up with more than what he asked for.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputy was given a drink tainted with cleaner while going through the Iola McDonald’s drive-through, Iola Police Chief Jared Warner said.
Trevor J. Hockaday, 22, was arrested on Sept. 12 as part of an ongoing police investigation into the case, Warner said. Hockaday was booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer, reported KOAMTV.
Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said the deputy had ordered an iced tea or a Coke in the drive-through and later had flu-like symptoms. He didn’t miss any work, though, because the symptoms came during his time off.
“He thought he caught the bug, but we found out two weeks later when an employee came forward and told the police department,” Murphy said.
A McDonald’s employee reportedly added “four little squirts” to the drink of a peroxide-based cleaner used at the restaurant to wipe down counters, Murphy said. He said Hockaday’s coworkers gave witness statements to investigators.
“In today’s day and age, not only us in law enforcement but citizens as a whole, there’s enough going on out there that we have to worry about … now my guys are cautious about going through that drive through,” Murphy said. “We all chose this line of work to protect and serve. Now my guys have that concern of is my food safe.”
Murphy said he would be even more upset if the victim were a member of the general public or a child instead of one of his deputies.
Murphy said that when he contacted the McDonald’s regional office in Joplin, Mo., he was told Hockaday had been suspended after an internal investigation but law enforcement was never contacted. Under Kansas law, adulterating or contaminating “any food, raw agricultural commodity, beverage, drug, animal feed, plant or public water supply” is a felony.
The local manager had not told regional or corporate managers about the incident, a regional restaurant official said, according to Murphy. The sheriff said a McDonald’s official told him it was not their procedure to contact law enforcement when tainted food is reported, but they would work to change their policy.
“In our restaurants, nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers,” the local McDonald’s owner and operator Glen Nichols said in a statement. “We are very disappointed by the allegations made regarding the behavior of one of our former crew members. This kind of behavior goes against our food safety standards and is not tolerated. Our organization will take all appropriate measures to gather facts and will work closely with authorities in their investigation.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said Thursday that the incident is under investigation.